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With No Local Case in A Record 200 Days

France and Germany are going back into lockdown, while coronavirus cases in the U.S. surging to new highs, but at the other end of the world Taiwan has achieved a different kind of record — more than 200 days without a locally transmitted case.

Taiwan holds the world’s best virus record by far and reached the 200-day landmark on Thursday. Its last local case came on April 12; there has been no second wave. On Friday, it reached 201 days without a local case.

What did this island of 23 million people do right? It has had 553 confirmed cases, with only seven deaths. Experts say closing borders early and tightly regulating travel have gone a long way toward fighting the virus. Other factors include rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and widespread mask wearing. Further, Taiwan’s deadly experience with SARS has scared people into compliance.

The 200-day-local-case-free total received worldwide attention including from lawmakers. Among them was U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who in a tweet mentioned the milestone, writing: “How’d they do it? They believe in science.”

Community transmission has been eliminated there, said Peter Collignon, an infectious disease physician and professor at the Australian National University Medical School. Taiwan “probably had the best result around the world,” he said, adding that “it’s even more impressive” for an economy with a population about the same size as Australia’s, with many people living close to one another in apartments.


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